*Joe Carey and Heather Humphreys. Photograph: Ruth Griffin

CLARE TD, Joe Carey (FG) is not expected to contest the next General Election but the Carey family are remaining tight-lipped on his intentions or if an alternative candidate will be put forward.

Twelve months ago, Deputy Carey took ill which resulted in his admission to the cardiac unit of University Hospital Limerick (UHL) having spent days on a trolley at the region’s main hospital.

A four-term TD, Joe has not made any public appearances since then as he continues his recovery. In his absence, Joe’s siblings Donal and Leonore along with parliamentary assistant Ger O’Halloran (FG) have been his representatives at meetings and events.

His illness has left Clare with three of its four TDs for twelve months and The Clare Echo understands that Deputy Carey will not be contesting the next General Election.

Deputy Carey has not responded to media requests from any outlet after his initial statement to advise that he was unwell and would be on sick leave.

Reports are strengthening in political circles and among local members of Fine Gael have that Leonore Carey will be contesting the next General Election in place of her brother.

When questioned by The Clare Echo on whether she would be going forward, Leonore stated, “there is no comment because there is no comment to make”. She refused to be drawn on speculation on whether she would allow her name into the ring and could not provide an update on the health of her brother.

Efforts to once again contact Deputy Carey over the past week have been unsuccessful. On Wednesday, The Clare Echo visited his constituency office where a representative was unable to provide clarity on whether the TD would be remaining in politics.

Fine Gael’s press office in Dublin were also requested to comment.

Locally party members are anxious to get some clarity on whether their own TD will be fit to return to politics. There is also a sense of frustration among officials in Clare that they have not been entrusted to receive any update regarding Carey’s health and intentions.

“He has been out of circulation for a year now and everything tells us he is not standing,” one member said.

Another party source said an official decision from Deputy Carey can only be made six months out from a General Election to entitle him to full pension benefits while candidates in the local election are concerned any announcement prior to June 7th could weaken their chances.

Joe’s absence from any Fine Gael ticket in Clare would greatly weaken their chances of maintaining a seat for the party which may lead to strong pressure being put on current Mayor of Clare, Cllr Joe Cooney (FG) to consider allowing his name forward.

Currently Fine Gael’s spokesperson on Transport, Joe is Chairperson of the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications. He was first elected to the Dáil in May 2007, taking the fourth seat in the Clare constituency to win a seat for Fine Gael in the county for the first time in twenty years in what was his first General Election. Prior to this, he served on Clare County Council from 1999 and received the highest vote of all elected councillors in 2004.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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